13 December 2022
Here it is, folks — December, winter frost, and the final Farm Update of the year. And gosh, what a year! We celebrated our first Beltain since the pandemic, completed two new buildings (and started two more… !), decorated our houses with plants, paints, and mosaics, and celebrated 50 years of experimental archaeology.
Thank you for being here with us — you’re making this possible!
In our last update for 2022, we look back on some of the year’s highlights at Butser, from finishing our Saxon Hall to raising a standing stone!
Our year in numbers...
We built a Saxon hall!
This year, we completed our second Saxon hall! This was truly a labour of love — a build that started before the pandemic and very nearly couldn’t be finished.
The hall is one of our favourite buildings on site, entirely handcrafted by Darren our master carpenter, and based on archaeology so local you can see the site from the doorway.
It’s a gorgeous building, and a fascinating archaeological experiment — taking archaeology that’s almost identical to our other Saxon hall, and reinterpreting it completely differently. That’s experimentation for you!
You can watch videos from the construction process, plus our celebration event with the original archaeologists from the 70s, in our Saxon hall series!
We celebrated our first Beltain back!
After two heartbreaking years without our Beltain Celtic Fire Festival, we came back better than ever!
Truly, the energy at this year’s Beltain was incredible, and we think the wickerman was one of our best yet — it even moving parts!
We’re so grateful to have been able to hold Beltain again after so long away, and so bowled over by everyone’s support and enthusiasm. Beltain is our favourite day of the year, and it was wonderful to be able to share it with you again!
If you’d like to relive the magic, or want to know what all the fuss is about, you can watch the highlights from the festival here on Butser Plus!
We raised a standing stone!
We still can’t get over this one. We raised a standing stone weighing 3.5 tons using nothing but rope and wood! No forklifts, no cranes, just muscle power, determination, and a very nerve-wracking afternoon… !
It’s an age-old question — how was Stonehenge made? We wanted to test using a sled without rollers, and an A-frame pulley system to get our stone in place — and we enlisted the crew of the Royal Navy flagship to help!
We laid a Roman mosaic!
What’s this? Another mosaic for our villa? Don’t mind if we do…
We’re chuffed to bits that we now have a second mosaic in our Roman villa! Both mosaics are replicas of the real mosaics found in those exact rooms in the archaeology, but this new one has a twist — the centre design was missing, so we had to get creative…
The mosaic project was masterminded by Kings’ College London Classics department, as well as the London School of Mosaic and award-winning mosaicist Gary Drostle. We couldn’t be happier with the result!
We celebrated our 50th anniversary!
It’s officially been 50 years since Butser Ancient Farm began as a little Iron Age research site — and gosh how we’ve grown since!
This year, we celebrated getting older with a nostalgic guided walk back to Butser’s original site, a look back at how this all started, and a chat with our directors Maureen and Simon to hear their stories of the site.
Thank you for being here and supporting in our 50th year, and here’s to many many more!
Butser Plus in 2022
Thank you for being with us this year! It’s been an incredible time, we’ve done so much, and it’s so good to be able to share it all with you.
Here’s three of our absolute favourite videos from this year…